Saturday, 28 November 2015

Swell

One of the bossy teachers with a stroppy attitude and doubtlessly a terribly unfulfilling homelife was yelling at the bad kid of the grade above. His name was Wade, a typical overgrown thug whose testosterone kicked in a few years too early and whose parents had clearly never taught him any manners, and instead exercised either too little or too much discipline upon him to the point of breaking him into the uncaring malcontent he had become. Eventually the teacher let him off with the tongue bashing and wandered off.

A swell of Chinese whispers came tearing toward us and some kids I didn't know told us how he'd called her a bitch under his breath as she walked away. We were shocked. The five of us, all six year olds, discussed it and came to the conclusion that it was our solemn duty to tell a teacher, but everyone was too scared to do so besides my best friend and I. We took it upon ourselves to be leaders and go and tell the first teacher we found. She thanked us for bringing it to her attention and made us wait outside her office whilst she brought in another teacher. 

"What do you think Wade'll do if he finds out it was us who told?" my friend asked me. 

"She won't tell on us," I said. "Besides, he should be the one worried, he said a bad word."

"Well, we didn't hear him... But I guess you're right."

Another teacher walked by with Wade in tow. Wade locked eyes with us as he padded piteously behind her.

My friend's face went pale as he was summoned inside to recount his version of events. A few agonizing minutes went by until finally he was released and we passed each other as he headed out of the room. He looked panicked. I asked what had happened so we could get our stories straight. "I told them you were the one who told me-" he managed to get out before the teacher told him to hurry off back to class. I felt woozy as I walked into the stuffy book-filled teacher's nook.

"Dominic, did you hear Wade calling Mrs Roberts a bitch?"

I looked sidewards at Wade in terror, who was, to my surprise, not looking mean, nor angry, nor even looking back at me pleadingly. Instead he was staring at his shoes in what was clearly a fit of boredom, and probably wondering what, if anything, he'd have for dinner. "Yes," I answered, I couldn't tell the truth now, so many lies depended on just this one more lie being believed. If I answered truthfully the whole series of events would start unravelling, and Wade was a dog who needed to be put down. I swore on it. The teachers looked at each other, "I know Dominic would never lie," said one. The other quickly agreed. It was my word against his, but my word was taken to be superior.

A few weeks later I was playing alone on the oval with my soccer ball. It rolled away from me and suddenly Wade was there, doing some fancy foot work and kicking it back to me. I hesitated a moment and then kicked it back to him. He kicked it back once more and soon we were playing together.

"Did you really call her a bitch?" I asked.

"Who?" he said, oblivious.

I didn't push it. He smiled at me like no one had ever played with him before. 

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